© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about infrastructure jobs and job training in broadband, construction, and manufacturing following the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act during an event


By Jarrett Renshaw

(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday plans to lay out how a $42 billion investment in expanding internet access will be divvied up among the nation’s 50 states, in an effort to give all Americans access to high-speed broadband by 2030.

The move will kick off the second leg of Biden’s tour highlighting how legislation passed by Congress during the first half of his term will affect average Americans, as his reelection bid gears up.

“We have an historic opportunity here to make a real difference in people’s lives and making sure that we deliver on that potential is what we’re about every day and to make sure that people feel that at their kitchen table, in their communities, in their backyards,” White House chief of staff Jeff Zients said.

Zients compared the broadband effort to President Franklin Roosevelt’s efforts in 1936 to bring electricity to rural America. The administration estimates there are some 8.5 million locations in the U.S. that lack access to broadband connections.

Broadband companies such as Verizon (NYSE:), Comcast (NASDAQ:), Charter Communications (NASDAQ:) and AT&T (NYSE:) have been reluctant to provide access to low-population, rural communities because the investments are expensive and the regions do not offer a lot of subscribers. The lack of broadband access drew attention during COVID shutdowns that forced students into online schooling.

The Biden administration will say how much of the $42 billion in funding each state will receive under the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program, based on a newly-released Federal Communications Commission coverage map that details access gaps.

States are expected to submit initial plans later this year that will unlock 20% of the funding. Once the plans are finalized, which could take to 2025, the remaining money will be released.

Biden is also set to give what White House officials describe as a major economic speech on Wednesday in Chicago, laying out so-called “Bidenomics,” according to a memo from senior advisors Anita Dunn and Mike Donilon to Congressional Democrats and other allies.

The speech will focus on Biden’s attempts to build the economy by focusing on the middle class and not the wealthy. The advisers noted the economy has added more than 13 million jobs since Biden took office, including nearly 800,000 manufacturing jobs.


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